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BOSPOAT - Best On Set Photo Of All Time: Cut!

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 4, 2019

Be honest—this is what you always imagined Oliver Stone’s sets were like, right?

This pic, featuring the legendarily intense filmmaker (right, with machete) on the set of his 1991 opus JFK, was submitted to us by veteran producer and PGA member Clayton Townsend, who served as co-producer/production manager on the film. He appears in this photo as the severely wounded gentleman in the driver’s seat.

We’re happy to report that Clayton did not in fact suffer his director’s machete-driven wrath, but rather had just completed a rare cameo, as the unfortunate Eladio Del Valle. (By Stone’s telling of the JFK saga, Del Valle was a CIA paymaster of David Ferrie, memorably played by Joe Pesci in the film.) “Oliver liked to put his staff and crew into his films,” Clayton tells us. “The guy in the hat was a production assistant named Juan Ros.”

Clayton admits that playing Eladio wasn’t much of a stretch. “The role required me just to be in the trunk of a car while being hacked to death by an unknown assailant,” he recalls. “The cinematographer, Robert Richardson, took great glee in pouring lots and lots of fake blood onto my head and into my ear.” While we admit we were hoping that the photo showed some hardcore rehearsal exercise to inspire an authentic expression of terror from the producer-turned-actor, no such luck—it’s just a photo of a high-spirited director having a goof with his team after getting the shot.

“I loved working with Oliver,” says Clayton, who went on to collaborate with Stone on five subsequent pictures. “He was very engaged and inclusive, a true filmmaker.” Speaking of being inclusive, there’s one key player here we’d like to include, but can’t: the would-be Zapruder who took this epic shot. Suspicion first fell on set still photographer Sidney Baldwin, but his steadfast denials have sent us down a rabbit hole of conjecture and supposition … could it have been Kevin Costner, shooting from behind the craft service table? Gary Oldman on the grassy knoll? Whatever the truth is, we expect that it would take at least a three-hour movie to uncover it. We’ll continue our research and meanwhile offer Clayton our sincerest thanks for submitting this phenomenal photo. 

We know what you’re thinking. “Best of all time? No way. I’ve got an on-set photo way better than that.” If that’s the case, we dare you to prove it. Submit it to BOSPOAT@producersguild.org. Before you submit, please review the contest rules at producersguild.org/bospoat. Because no matter how great your photo is, we have no desire to get sued over it.

- View other BOSPOAT winners here.

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